Josh Major and Jamon Hogan entered Columbus East High School in 2014 hoping to build on the legacy that previous Olympian teams had built.

All they’ve done since then is help East to a 51-5 record, three regional titles, two semistate crowns and this year’s Class 5A state championship, putting up pinball-type numbers along the way.

Now, just as they were last year, Major and Hogan are The Republic Football co-Players of the Year.

“It’s just been a blessing to play for the East football program,” Major said. “Obviously, I’ve became a lot better over the past four years, but I’ve also become a better person with all the life lessons I’ve learned. Then, with all my teammates, it’s an unbreakable bond and has just been a really fun time with all those guys.”

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That fun hit a high point this season when the Olympians went 14-1. After steamrolling through their first four postseason games, East stunned Cathedral 42-13 in the semistate, then downed Kokomo 42-28 in the state finals.

That victory helped erase a bad taste from last year’s 16-13 loss to Westfield in the 5A state final.

“Our goal was to get all the way back to state, and this time, finish the job,” Hogan said.

The Olympians did that, with Major and Hogan leading the way. The pair, along with fellow senior Jaedin Miller, all rushed for more than 100 yards in the title game, becoming the first trio ever to do that in the state finals.

East coach Bob Gaddis said Major and Hogan have been a strong pair the past couple years and took things up another notch this season. Gaddis said it was hard for them to repeat what they did as juniors because everybody knew who they were.

“They just were a tremendous duo back there,” Gaddis said, “And then you throw Jaedin in, and Jaedin complemented those guys. They kind of fed off each other.”

Major was a three-year starter at quarterback. He originally was slated to play wide receiver as a sophomore, but moved after returning starter K.J. McCarter was unable to recover from a hamstring injury.

After passing for 1,435 yards and running for 979 that season, Major has been over 1,000 both running and passing the past two years. He has completed at least 74 percent of his passes all three years and was at nearly 77 percent this year, despite breaking in a new cast of receivers.

“The receivers and I worked really hard in the offseason just to get that relationship going because we had all new receivers this year,” Major said. “They did great, and the offensive line gave me time, like they always have. Then obviously, we ran the ball super well, so that was able to give me an advantage passing the ball.”

Meanwhile, Hogan went over the 2,200-yard mark for the second consecutive year. His carries and total yards were down slightly from last season, but his yards per carry improved to 10.2.

Hogan said he went back through his Hudl highlight video from the past four years and noticed how he improved and progressed.

“I felt great about the year that I had,” Hogan said. “I just know that I didn’t hold anything back. I’m really proud of the way that I’ve been able to grow as a player. That’s what this program does to you — it helps you grow and excel at your position.”

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the numbers Hogan and Major have put up the past couple years is that they played only about 2 1/2 quarters in most games. Sometimes, they didn’t even play in the second half.

Such is the case when the Olympians lead by five or six touchdowns at halftime.

“We were never in a situation where we were trying to pad stats or anything like that. If I take them out of the game and say, ‘Hey, you’re done for the night,’ they’d just smile and say ‘OK,’ and support the other guys that got to come in.”

While Hogan is intent on playing college football, Major is undecided. Major, who plans to major in premed, visited Hanover last weekend and also is looking at DePauw and Franklin. If he doesn’t play football, he likely would go to Indiana University, Butler or University of Indianapolis.

Hogan has a visit scheduled to Marian on Saturday. UIndy came in and talked to him last week, and he may visit that school in January. Hogan, who plans to study criminal justice, also is considering Ball State.

No matter how they fare in college, Major and Hogan always will remember their last high school game.

“Coming into the year, our goal was to get back there and win it,” Major said. “Last year, we were disappointed in the way it ended. To get back there and win it, it was the best feeling we could have had.”

At a glance

The Republic All-Area Football team:

Offense

QB — Josh Major, Columbus East

The senior completed 73 of 95 passes for 1,269 yards and 13 touchdowns and carried 160 times for 1,401 yards and 22 scores.

QB — Trenton Kelley, Columbus North

The junior completed 154 of 244 passes for 2,233 yards and 25 touchdowns and carried 44 times for 170 yards and four scores.

RB — Jamon Hogan, Columbus East

The senior carried 226 times for 2,296 yards and 354 touchdowns and caught five passes for 84 yards and a score.

RB — Jaedin Miller, Columbus East

The senior carried 137 times for 852 yards and 23 touchdowns.

RB — Devon Martin, South Decatur

The senior led the Cougars with 214 carries for 1,064 yards and seven touchdowns and had 22 catches for 308 yards and two scores; also had two interceptions.

WR — Jaylen Flemmons, Columbus North

The senior caught 55 passes for 995 yards and 13 touchdowns; also had an interception.

WR — Tristan Bailey, Columbus North

The senior caught 40 passes for 601 yards and eight touchdowns.

TE — Mitchel Collier, Columbus North

The sophomore caught seven passes for 51 yards and a touchdown; also had 56 tackles and led the Bull Dogs with four sacks.

OL — Zach Clark, Columbus East

The senior helped lead an offensive line that paved the way for 5,470 rushing and 1,550 passing yards.

OL — Mark Sciutto, Columbus East

The senior helped lead an offensive line that paved the way for 5,470 rushing and 1,550 passing yards.

OL — Cole McCarter, Columbus East

The senior helped lead an offensive line that paved the way for 5,470 rushing and 1,550 passing yards.

OL — Logan Abbott, Columbus North

Led an offensive line that paved the way for 1,488 rushing and 2,556 passing yards.

OL — Gabe Hutton, Columbus North

The senior helped lead an offensive line that paved the way for 1,488 rushing and 2,556 passing yards.

Defense

DL — Ty Henderson, Columbus East

The senior recorded 68 tackles, including 15 for losses, and had three sacks.

DL — Tyler Thomas, Columbus East

The senior recorded 38 tackles, including four for losses, and had one sack; also started at tight end.

DL — Nick Tungett, Columbus North

The senior recorded 57 tackles, including two sacks.

DL — Will Redding, Columbus North

The junior recorded 37 tackles and three quarterback hurries.

LB — Brigham Kleinhenz, Columbus North

The senior led the Bull Dogs with 154 tackles, including 16 for losses, and had three sacks.

LB — Nash Murphy, Columbus East

The junior led the Olympians with 140 tackles and had 14 tackles for losses and two sacks.

LB — Zack O’Connor, Columbus East

The senior recorded 67 tackles, including 15 for losses, and returned a fumble for a touchdown.

LB — Charlie Burton, Columbus East

The senior recorded 89 tackles, including 13 for losses, and had two interceptions.

DB — Ethan Summa, Columbus East

The senior recorded 121 tackles, including seven for losses, and had one interception.

DB — Jonah Wichman, Columbus East

The junior led the Olympians with seven interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and had 50 tackles; also caught 11 passes for 90 yards and a score.

DB — J.D. Harris, Columbus North

The senior led the Bull Dogs with six interceptions and had 24 tackles; also caught 18 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns.

DB — Damon Hunter Jr., Columbus North

The senior recorded two interceptions and 85 tackles, including seven for losses.

DB — Chase Reason, Jennings County

The senior recorded 40 tackles; also led the Panthers with 427 yards rushing and had 28 catches for 384 yards and six total touchdowns.

Specialists

K — Sam Thomasson, Columbus East

The junior converted his only field goal attempt and 96 of 98 extra point attempts for 99 points; also recorded 18 touchbacks on kickoffs.

P — Ezra Scully, Brown County

The senior averaged 37.7 yards on 11 punts, putting four inside the 20-yard line; also had 24 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns.

KR — Tristan Richards, Brown County

The senior averaged 24.6 yards per punt return; also led the Eagles with five interceptions and 36 catches for 599 yards and two touchdowns.

Honorable mention

Brown County: Noah Carter, Colten Harper, Griffin Kelly. Columbus East: Dalton Back, Julian Greenwell, Isaac VanCuren. Columbus North: Cortez Bandy, Noah Earl, Montez Mitchell, Tay Wells. Edinburgh: Zach Murphy, Tyson Sackman, Austin Streeval. Jennings County: Zane Beineke, Dylan Boswell, Justin Rennemeier. South Decatur: Tucker Bushhorn, Trent Nobbe. Trinity Lutheran: Tyler Goecker, Bryce Lister, Jacob Rowe.

By the numbers

Career stats for The Republic Football co-Players of the Year Josh Major and Jamon Hogan:

Josh Major

Passing;Comp.-Att.;Pct.;Yards;TD

2015;86-116;74.1;1,435;17

2016;54-70;77.1;1,164;11

2017;73-95;76.8;1,269;13

Totals;213-281;75.8;3,868;41

Rushing;Att.;Yards;Avg.;TD

2014;12;34;2.8;0

2015;164;979;6.0;13

2016;166;1,222;7.4;18

2017;160;1,401;8.8;22

Totals;502;3,636;7.2;43

Jamon Hogan

Rushing;Att.;Yards;Avg.;TD

2014;9;54;6.0;0

2015;75;713;9.5;5

2016;269;2,417;9.0;38

2017;226;2,296;10.2;34

Totals;579;5,480;9.5;77

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.